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Eastern Wine Competition’s big winner is a little-known Wisconsin winery

A little-known Wisconsin winery has walked away with the top awards at the 2012 International Eastern Wine Competition.

Wollersheim Winery in Prairie du Sac, Wis., was the big winner, picking up Best of Show, Best White Wine and the Riesling Champion honors for its American Dry Riesling, and Best Rosé for its 2011 Prairie Blush, made from Wisconsin grown Marechal Foch grapes. The award winning riesling was made with custom-grown fruit from Washington state. The winery, which produces about 10,000 cases annually,  buys fruit from growers in New York and Michigan. Wollersheim sells its wines  locally.

The competitions, organized by Vineyard & Winery Management magazine, a trade publication, took place March 6-7, 2012, at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, Calif. Linda Murphy, West Coast editor of Britain’s Decanter magazine, was the chief judge.

The competition focused only wines made in the East, Midwest and eastern Canada.   In previous years, entries included wines from the western U.S., Australia and beyond.

“The quality of wines from the East and Midwest has increased tremendously in the last decade, as has the number of wineries producing them,’ Murphy said in a web posting announcing the results. “Under the new format, 13 states and Ontario were represented in the sweepstakes round, which clearly shows that well-made, exciting wines come from outside California, Oregon and Washington – and consumers everywhere should know about them.”

The 2012 competition included 800 entries.  Judges from across the United States awarded 15 double-gold, 73 gold, 216 silver and 235 bronze medals.

Magnotta Winery’s 2010 Limited Edition Shiraz from Ontario was named Best Red Wine, Grand Mark from Tabor Hill Winery in(Michigan was chosen Best Sparkling Wine, Mazza Vineyards in Pennsylvania won Best Dessert Wine for its 2010 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, and Door Peninsula Winery’s Peach won Best Fruit Wine. Click here for the complete list of winners.

Where were all the New York wines? Only Anthony Road in the Finger Lakes came out a winner, taking best of class for  its 2010 semi-dry riesling and 2010 gewurztraminer.  And only one Virginia winery came out on top, Sunset Hills, for its 2009 cabernet franc. Only a handful of Finger Lakes producers scored gold and the list of winners included no Long Island wines. I surmise that wineries in the better known regions, which are making good, if not great wines, didn’t bother to enter or the judges really chose to spread the medals around. A top pinot noir from Texas? There was only one medal-winning merlot, from Virginia.

Am I missing something?


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